Coaching and Mentoring are both vehicles that can get you to your chosen destination. However, it helps if you know which one is most suited for what terrain.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is result orientated, i.e., the person obtains a positive, tangible benefit. It’s 100% facilitative as the coach will work with process, context, and structure. Your coach will ask questions; there is no tell, advise, or teach. You, the client, are the one with all the answers; it’s your coach that helps you find them. This includes nurture and praise, but you will also be challenged, pushed, and stretched. Unlike mentoring, it is possible to coach someone around anything; no knowledge of the subject is required. For example, I don’t play golf, and yet I have over lunch coached my clients to improve their golf game, win tournaments, and decrease their handicap.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is also results orientated. However, the most significant difference is that the results are achieved because the mentor tells, advises and teaches. It’s about filling in the gaps, giving the client resources, strategies and knowledge. Consequently, the mentor must know more about the subject than the client. In a business context, it’s a bit like having your own personal trainer; the programme is bespoke to you.
The thing about mentoring is that the results are only as good as the mentor. If the mentor actively keeps up to date in their field, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If they challenge their own mental models and work on increasing their self-awareness, then they’re less likely to pass on their defects.
Very often, business leaders are comfortable having a mentor, or a few in some cases. I know I have found them invaluable. What is more disturbing is the percentage of leaders who don’t have a coach, and in fact, think that coaching is only for under-performing people.
Should you have a coach or a mentor?
It gets lonely at the top, and it’s always good to be able to check out your thinking. If you’re open to being challenged and you want to go from being good to being great, then getting a coach or mentor would benefit you.
The next thing is that you need to go and find the right one for you, based on the results you want to achieve. Great coaches and mentors will be just as interested in making sure that they are a fit and a match as you are. If they don’t think they’re right they’ll tell you and, assuming they’re well connected, will often know someone who could be right for you. The other key piece here is that you shouldn’t have to pay for this. My first conversation with a potential client is without risk, on both sides; that way, we’re both free to decide without any obligation or sunk costs driving our decision making.
With the majority of my clients, I am both a mentor and a coach, as I switch according to the situation. What I can share is that the investment I make in my mentors and coaches has paid dividends over the years. It’s the fast track approach to getting the success you want. I used to think that I had to do it all by myself, that given my intelligence I’d be able to figure it out. However given my goals, I can’t afford to sit in my ivory tower working it out. For most business leaders achieving their goals is a blend of what they’re doing and who they’re being while they’re doing what they do. Consequently, having both a mentor and a coach is a powerful combination that covers both terrains.
As Einstein said, “the thinking which got you here, won’t get you any further.” What he means is that your current thinking, habits, and beliefs shape how you view the world. Consequently, if you want to change something, your thinking needs to shift first. However, very often we’re not aware of our thoughts or patterns so this can be hard.
Have you decided who’s going to be your mentor and your coach?
Want bigger results, faster?
Maybe there are challenges you want to resolve and goals you want to achieve right now?
Our VIP ½ day or 1-day coaching and mentoring packages are designed to give you the confidence, clarity and action plan you need to get the desired results you want.
Spend productive time with Ruth (either in person or on the phone) and move from a sense of overwhelm to clarity. To discover if this is the right investment for you at this moment in your leadership journey contact us and we’ll arrange a conversation.